Disabilities vs. Eugenics: The Selection of the Ideal American
Modern day society does not resemble the ideal, utopian world. Even though we have advanced in how society views those with special needs, there is still room for improvement. This project combined my American History and teacher education coursework in an effort to, first, understand historical attitudes towards those with developmental disabilities and, second, to fight lingering misconceptions by promoting recognition of every individual’s unique worth. During the Eugenics Movement of the early 20th century, those with disabilities were ostracized, and many worked to ensure that disabilities would not be passed on through forced sterilization. Thankfully, times have changed, and those with disabilities can express themselves, Special Olympics being one of these outlets. Special Olympics allows those with disabilities to showcase their passion through sports. When the athletes are doing what they love, the sky is the limit. As a future special education teacher, it is important to recognize a child’s strengths, talents, and vital contributions to this world instead of focusing solely on labels. I hope that, through this presentation, I can encourage the audience to destigmatize the following label: disability. I appreciate your careful consideration of my potential entrance into the MEHA conference.
Socially constructed norms and blanket stereotypes have plagued societies worldwide since the beginning of time. According to BBC, United States hate crimes are currently at an all-time high and have been soaring over the past decade. Through hate-inspired, constructed social norms, marginalized groups of people experience various degrees of animosity due to their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, religious beliefs, age, and/or other aspects of human difference. Social norms were formed on the false belief that everyone who identifies with a particular group(s) acts/believes/lives a certain way— a set of unspoken “rules” that not only prevents inclusion and acceptance but also brings about persecution for human beings subjected to these repulsive beliefs and acts. The recent events of the Black Lives Matter movement, showed the world that these abhorrent stereotypes and despicable constructed norms are finally being fought to be erased. My research not only exposes these ill beliefs but also works to create solutions, a social practice if you will, to help people not only erase false beliefs but also prevent such hate-inspired norms to be constructed again.